There are four teams in the National League with more road wins than the Arizona Diamondbacks this year. Three of them, the Giants, Cubs, and Nationals, currently lead their respective divisions. The Diamondbacks are like that, only inverse, because there is only one team in the all of Major League Baseball with fewer wins at home than the Diamondbacks. That would be the Atlanta Braves, who are abandoning Turner Field after this season in a sort of ponzi scheme. The Diamondbacks being terrible at home has been the defining characteristic of their season. If the Diamondbacks were hovering around .500 at home with their current road record, we'd still be talking about a playoff shot. Now? Just an endless cacophony of sadness.
I think the reason for this is fairly simple, as I mentioned in my mailbag column last week, every starting pitcher's Home/Road splits are a gulf between quality and a nightmarish hellscape of pain, suffering, and clowns*. The next logical question from that is "Why?" This season, Chase Field is the third friendliest Home Run environment in the majors, trailing only Yankee Stadium, in which any lefty who can elevate the ball could have a 20 home run season, and Coors Field, in which duh.
*Shelby Miller has been the exception, obviously. He's just the latter.
Chase FIeld being homer-friendly would seem to make sense to anybody who has watched games there on a regular basis. However, digging into the numbers shows some surprises. In 2015 Chase Field ranked 24th. 2014 it ranked 7th. 2013 16th. There's some fluctuation, but it's never been this high in terms of the rest of Major League Baseball before. Granted, this could regress by the end of the year, but it would go some way into explaining some of the disparate Home/Road splits pitchers are experiencing. You can also probably think off of the top of your head more than a handful of moments this season where homers just seemed to... happen at Chase Field off of our starting pitching. Chase Field has always been very hitter friendly, but that was more or less helped by the fact that doubles and triples are more common, rather than Home Runs. Obviously, things have changed this season.
"Okay, cool. But can you tell us why it's like this?"
Unfortunately, I cannot. If pitching splits were universally bad across the board, it could be easy to say "Oh, everyone is terrible and Mike Butcher should not have gainful employment ever again.", but really I can't. There's a part of me that thinks this homer happy tendency will regress for at least a few of our more competent starting pitchers, but there's no basis to think that it either will or won't. It's something to look at when the season concludes.
"But I want to scapegoat something noooooooow!"
Okay, Veruca. If you want to go into less scientific reasoning, how about this: In March, before the season started, the Diamondbacks announced that they were not happy with Maricopa County about the maintenance of Chase Field. Not too long afterwards, A.J. Pollock got injured, the starting pitching imploded, etc. Am I saying that somehow this declaration caused forces beyond our comprehension to somehow cause the Diamondbacks to be terrible at home? I'm not saying that, but I'm not not saying that.
Also, as I have ranted about before, Home Games are the only ones where Red Hats are worn. As of writing the Diamondbacks are 0-10 in Red Hat games. I WILL NOT BE SILENCED.
For now, the Diamondbacks have a three-game series in San Francisco. If they win the series, or even sweep again, against one of the best teams in the National League, it will be hilarious, but it will also add to the growing home-related ennui the 2016 Diamondbacks face.